Papuans Rally for Independence

JAYAPURA

Hundreds of Papuans protested on Wednesday rejecting the region’s special autonomy within Indonesia and demanding a referendum on self-determination.

Carrying a wooden coffin covered with a black cloth which said “Special Autonomy is Dead in Papua,” more than 1,000 activists, students and church leaders protested in front of the provincial parliament in Jayapura, witnesses said.

“Independence for Papua; reject special autonomy,” they shouted.

“Indonesia the coloniser; Indonesia the oppressor; Indonesia the robber.”

They also called for the upper house of tribal leaders called the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) to be disbanded.

“The MRP had done nothing to improve the welfare of Papuans. Our people are poor in their own land,” protest coordinator Selpius Bobi said.

“We reject special autonomy as that is the Indonesian government’s policy which has never supported the natives. We want a referendum that will allow us to determine our own fate,” he added.

Papua’s special autonomy status, introduced in 2001 after the fall of former president Suharto’s military dictatorship, has seen powers including control of most tax revenue from natural resources devolved to the provincial government.

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3 Responses to “Papuans Rally for Independence”

  1. Tweets that mention Papuans Rally for Independence -- Topsy.com Says:

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  2. Duncan Says:

    Lets hope Indonesias actions are nothing like those in East Timor…

  3. Johnny Cool Says:

    @Duncan…”Lets hope Indonesias actions are nothing like those in East Timor…”

    Whilst I hope you’re right, I think they kind of already are. One should not forget that during 1986-1988, SBY was a very high-ranking military poohbah in West Timor, just before East Timor initially gained its “independence”.

    That military unit is still in West Timor. Only a few days ago, SBY was addressing them and wearing a green beret, which somehow lead his wife to liken him to John Wayne!

    West Timor is just a hop, skip and a jump to Irian Jaya. Unless you live under a rock, you must have heard of the recent atrocities committed by some “rogue” Indonesian soldiers against some of the native people.

    All in all, what’s going on right now in Irian Java does not send any positive messages (at least, not to me). Foreign journalists and NGOs are not allowed in. Why not, we may all ask?

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